William F. Brooks Sr., 98, dies

Columbus, OH — William F. Brooks Sr. died recently after fully enjoying his life of 98 years in Delaware.

Mr. Brooks was born on March 9, 1924, to Grace (Gorman) and Harry Brooks. After losing his mother at the age of eight, he was raised by his aunt, May Gorman, on Shallcross Avenue in the Forty Acres. He lived his entire life in the Wilmington area but over the years had homes in Rehoboth Beach and Pompano, Fla.

Mr. Brooks left high school before graduating to enlist in the Army and serve in World War II as a paratrooper. Upon returning from the war, he worked at numerous jobs including cleaning coils for draft beer systems with Ajax Distributors and as back tender in the Bancroft mills.

Despite not having a formal education, he was a man who understood business and never saw an opportunity he wouldn’t pursue. In 1951, at the age of 27, he founded Brooks Armored Car by selling the family car in order to buy his first armored truck. Several years later he saw the opportunity to expand the business to include courier services and thus Brooks Courier Service was born. Sixty-seven years later Brooks Courier is being operated by the third generation of the family.

Mr. Brooks was well known as the owner and breeder of champion Standardbred like Oil Burner, No Nukes, Rebel Lu, and many more that still impact the sport today.

He also ventured into the restaurant and bar business starting with the Horse N Buggy on Marsh Road and Stanley’s Tavern on Foulk Road and many establishments in Rehoboth Beach.

Mr. Brooks was an ardent supporter of the Mary Campbell Center in its mission to help young adults with disabilities. In his support of children, he was active in St Helena’s Athletic Club and the sponsorship of many little league teams. There are likely thousands of men, now in their forties to seventies, who played baseball with Brooks Armored Car on their uniforms.

He had many friends and made even more over drinks at the Columbus Inn in Wilmington, the Sherry Netherlands Hotel in New York, or any harness track on the east coast from Yonkers Raceway in New York to Pompano Park in Florida, but especially Brandywine Raceway.

He married Elizabeth (Betty) Ciconte in 1951 and they lovingly raised four children. Betty was the stabilizing influence that kept Bill centered throughout his life. Although they divorced later in life, Mr. Brooks was at her side when she passed away in 2009.

His children and grandchildren are Bill Jr. (Anne) and their son Bob; Bob (Cindy) and their children Robin, Julie, and Carl (Jill) and their children Madison and Jake; Nancy (Bill Biordi) and their children, Jason Keenan (Caitlin) and Claire Biordi; and Barbara and her daughter Emily Johnson.

Please join his family at the Columbus Inn on Tuesday (July 26) between 3-6:30 p.m. to have a few drinks and share stories. If you are so inclined to remember Bill with donations, please do so to the Mary Campbell Center, 4641 Weldin Road, Wilmington, DE 19803.

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